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A new system being developed at MIT would store excess energy in concrete spheres on the s...

The intermittent nature of wind and solar power generation is one of the biggest challenges facing these renewable energy sources. But this isn’t likely to remain a problem for much longer with everything from flywheels to liquid air systems being developed to provide a cheaper form of energy storage than batteries for times when the wind is blowing or the sun isn’t shining. A new concept out of MIT can now be added to the the list of potential solutions. Aimed specifically at offshore wind turbines, the concept would see energy stored in huge concrete spheres that would sit on the seafloor and also function as anchors for the turbines.  Read More

NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn conducts the SPHERES-VERTIGO investigation aboard the Interna...

Take the little floating ball that gave Luke Skywalker so much trouble during lightsaber practice, slap a pair of huge welder’s goggles on it and you start to get a picture of NASA’s latest foray into flying robots. Currently being tested aboard the International Space Station (ISS), MIT Space Systems Laboratory’s SPHERES-VERTIGO system is a free-flying robot with stereoscopic vision that is part of a program to develop ways for small satellites to autonomously create 3D maps of objects such as asteroids or disabled satellites.  Read More

An electrohydrodynamic lifter in action (Photo: Anonymous59.)

Imagine an aircraft that is silent, invisible to infrared detectors, has zero emissions and can hover in an eerie manner that helicopters can’t. Now imagine it coming from technology currently used to suck dust out of living room air. That’s what a team of researchers at MIT is doing. They've conducted a study that indicates that ionic thrusters, currently a science fair curiosity, might one day take to the skies.  Read More

Scientists at MIT have created a chip that is said to enhance digital snapshots more quick...

Snapshots banged off on a smartphone, tablet or point-and-shoot camera could soon be getting a lot better looking thanks to a new processor chip. Developed by researchers at MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratory, the new chip enhances images within milliseconds, and reportedly uses much less power than the image processing software installed on some devices.  Read More

Cross-training techniques can help robots and humans work better together

Like many people, I spend most of my time worrying about the inevitable robot uprising. MIT is doing its bit to put off that day with its experiments in teaching robots and humans to work together peacefully. Using cross-training techniques, the researchers got robots and humans to swap jobs so they could see things from the others' point of view and carry out tasks more efficiently when working together.  Read More

A conceptual image of the vaccine patch developed at MIT that could enable the use of DNA ...

Taking a two-month-old in for vaccination shots and watching them get stuck with six needles in rapid succession can be painful for child and parent alike. If the work of an MIT team of researchers pans out, those needles may be thing of the past thanks to a new dissolvable polymer film that allows the vaccination needle to be replaced with a patch. This development will not only make vaccinations less harrowing, but also allow for developing and delivering vaccines for diseases too dangerous for conventional techniques.  Read More

Each cube is comprised of a colored LED, an accelerometer, IR receivers, and a battery, wh...

With a few drinks under our belts, many of us can think every thought that crosses our mind is a work of genius, and one student at MIT certainly drew some alcohol-induced inspiration after a late night of revelry – though not exactly the way he would've liked. Following a party that ended with a trip to the hospital, Dhairya Dand created a set of "ice cubes" that track how much you drink and flash red to tell you when you've had too much.  Read More

The new polymer film developed at MIT  that generates power from water vapor (Image: Ning ...

A team of researchers at MIT’s David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research has developed a new polymer film that generates power from water vapor. Consisting of two polymer films, the material makes remarkably acrobatic somersaults in the presence of even tiny traces of evaporated water, opening the way for new types of artificial muscles for controlling robotic limbs or powering micro and nanoscopic devices.  Read More

Simulation of the clotting process, showing the platelets in gold and the Willebrand facto...

Blood clots are one way in which the body heals itself after injuries on even the tiniest level. The process is fast, reliable and goes on every minute of the day without our being aware of it. Now, a team led by MIT assistant professor of materials science and engineering Alfredo Alexander-Katz is studying blood clots as a new model for producing self-healing materials.  Read More

Designed as an educational development kit for experienced hobbyists, the 10-inch tall one...

Educational electronics kits like the one from Minty Geek are a great introduction to the world of circuit building and electronic tinkering, but are perhaps a little too basic for more advanced hobbyists. Three MIT students are currently enjoying enormous success on the Kickstarter crowd-funding platform with a DIY Tesla coil kit called oneTesla that can make artificial lightning sing ... well, erm, play music from a MIDI source. Now where did I put that polyphonic version of This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us by Sparks?  Read More

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